The Taliban’s Suppression of Critics: Where is Rasool Parsi?
Following the Taliban‘s repression, torture, and detention of other opponents, Rasool Parsi, also known as Rasool Abdi, has been missing for the past 20 days. Reliable sources have reported that the 40th Intelligence Directorate of the Taliban has taken Parsi into custody and is subjecting him to torture. The Taliban have yet to make any official statement on this matter.
Rasool Parsi is a modern religious thinker who had been living in Kabul after leaving Herat province. He obtained his degree from the Faculty of Sharia at Herat University. He initially began his career as a preacher at a mosque in Herat, but eventually left that position to pursue a career as a writer and religious theorist. Between 2019 and 2020, when he was known as Rasool Abdi, Mr. Parsi also volunteered for a brief period with the Council for the Protection of Civilians. His associates assert that he never taught at a university, despite the media falsely claiming he was a professor.
Rasool Abdi relocated from Herat to Kabul and enrolled at a university there to pursue a master‘s degree. He is said to have moved his family to Kabul three years ago, changed his last name from “Abdi“ to “Parsi,” and since the Taliban have taken over Afghanistan, he has been known as “Rasool Parsi“. His friends were aware of his sincerity and frankness, and he was not afraid to express himself in both his speech and writing, despite having a critical opinion on the current political affairs in Afghanistan and a lack of enthusiasm to engage in them. However, Parsi, who had been vocal in his opposition to the Taliban‘s systems of rule on social media, has been missing for some time, and his critical posts are no longer available.
According to sources, the Taliban abducted Rasul Parsi from Kabul approximately 20 days ago. Ahmad Jawad Faizi, one of Parsi‘s associates, told Hasht–e–Subh that Parsi has been missing for over 20 days. Faizi stated that he has been unable to contact Parsi, despite his numerous attempts. He said, “The Taliban may have taken him into custody due to Parsi‘s strong criticism of them. I believe that nobody in his family is aware of Parsi‘s location either.”
Faisal, a resident of Herat province who is using a pseudonym, informed Hasht–e–Subh that the Taliban had arrested Rasool Parsi twenty days prior and had taken him to the 40th Intelligence Directorate of the Taliban. Additionally, Faisal reported that they had been informed by people in Kabul that Mr. Parsi was being held captive and tortured in the 40th intelligence directorate of the Taliban.
A different acquaintance of Mr. Parsi informed Hasht–e–Subh that Rasool Parsi is a destitute member of society; his family resides in Herat, and no one is looking out for him. He stated, “Parsi resided with his wife and three daughters in Kabul. Unfortunately, his impoverished wife is unable to do anything to secure his release from the Taliban‘s prison at this time.”
Nevertheless, numerous young civil rights activists in Herat have initiated a campaign on social media, requesting the Taliban to free Rasool Parsi. According to the campaign initiated by the young activists in Herat, Parsi has not broken any laws, has only occasionally written articles that are critical of the Taliban‘s rule, and his life is in danger.
Since assuming control of Afghanistan, the Taliban have detained and imprisoned academics, civil rights activists, journalists, and other detractors.
According to reports from Hasht–e–Subh, the Taliban arrested academics and civil rights activists, but then released them on bail with the stipulation that they not speak to the press. Additionally, some recently freed prisoners allege that the Taliban‘s intelligence service instructed them not to criticize the Taliban in any way, including on social media.
Recently, members of the Taliban‘s intelligence service have detained Matiullah Wisa, the head of the Rah–e–Qalam Organization in Kabul. This has caused a variety of reactions, however, the Taliban maintain that they have the right to detain and question citizens of Afghanistan.